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A gown or evening gown is a woman's evening wear, corresponding to men's formal wear for white tie and black tie events. Gowns are worn for formal evening weddings, by members of the wedding party, for diplomatic events such as state dinners, and other formal events including debutante balls, proms, charity balls, and many awards ceremonies.

What it is

A long, sometimes loose, flowing garment, the gown is a type of dress, usually full-length and made of a luxury fabric such as velvet, brocade, or silk.

The ball gown is a gown with a full skirt (for dancing), possibly with open back and low neck line. Elbow-length gloves are correct with a ball gown..

When it is worn

White tie occasions

For events where a man wears white tie, the lady traditionally wears a ball gown.

A debutante wears a white ballgown for her debut.

To accompany a gentleman wearing a formal kilt, a lady wears a white gown with a tartan sash. A less formal variant is a longer kilted skirt, with jacket. The sash or kilted skirt may be the tartan of the woman's own clan (if she is entitled to wear one), of her husband's clan, or any of the district tartans approved for general wear.

Black Tie occasions

A gown for a black tie event may be full length, or ballet or tea (mid-calf to ankle) length. A cocktail gown, with a skirt the length of current day wear, may also be acceptable for some black tie events.

Alternatives to the gown

A ball skirt is a fashion introduced in the 1990s, consisting of a full, long skirt, to be worn with a cashmere sweater, lace camisole, or other top.

Other types of gown

See also: nightgown, wedding gown, bedgown, hospital gown.

Learn the difference between a gown & dress.

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gown).  8/5/05

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